The Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is seeking comments on numerous applications for permits under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Applications include requests for captive bred permits for crocodiles, tortoises, penguins, and other animals; permits to kill “excess” deer and oryx; and permits to import sport-hunted trophies. The agency is accepting comments on these permit applications until June 22, 2020.
FWS Seeks Comments on Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Permit Applications
EPA Seeks Comment on CWA 404 Permit Policy Regarding ESA Consultation
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced it is seeking comments on whether the agency should reconsider its current position that consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not required when the agency approves a request to assume the Clean Water Act section 404 dredged and fill permit program. The agency is accepting comments until July 6, 2020.
Lawsuits Challenging Environmental Species Act Rollbacks Dismissed
A federal judge in California has dismissed two (1, 2) lawsuits filed by environmental and animal protection groups challenging the federal government’s recent rollbacks of the Endangered Species Act, saying that the groups failed to establish standing. A similar lawsuit brought by a coalition of states, however, survived.
FWS Designates Southern Sierra Nevada Population Segment of Fisher as Endangered
The Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a final rule designating the Southern Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment of the fisher as endangered. The rule goes into effect June 15, 2020.
Defenders of Wildlife Intends to Sue FWS Over Endangered Birds
Defenders of Wildlife has let the Fish and Wildlife Service know that it intends to file suit against the agency, alleging that the agency’s decision to allow horseshoe crab harvests in South Carolina puts several species of threatened birds and their habitats at risk.
Organizations Again Challenge Diversion of Funds to Border Wall
The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have filed suit against the Trump administration, challenging the diversion of funds toward constructing a border wall. The complaint alleges violation of the 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, the Appropriations Clause, and the separation of powers and non-delegation doctrine.
Water Export Expansion Halted to Protect Fish
A California federal court has temporarily halted the expansion of federal water export operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta until the end of the month in order to protect several species listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act, including Chinook salmon and California Central Valley steelhead.
Washington, DC Bans Sale of Ivory and Rhino Horn
The District of Columbia has banned the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn in an effort to address trade in objects that contribute to the decline of endangered populations.
Ninth Circuit Ends Suit Over Endangered Okinawa Dugong
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit originally filed in 2003 by environmental groups challenging the Department of Defense’s construction and operation of an aircraft base in Okinawa on the basis that the Department failed to consider to the impacts of the base on the local dugong—a manatee-like species—population. The court affirmed the dismissal on the basis that the Department’s actions were within its discretion.
FWS Establishes Island Marble Butterfly as Endangered and Designates Critical Habitat
The Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a final rule determining endangered species status for the island marble butterfly and designating approximately 812 acres in Washington as critical habitat for the species.